The Beginning of the End
Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present. (Luke 22:1-6)
Even though the chief priests and teachers of the law were looking for a way to kill Jesus, they were paralyzed by their fear of the people. The word translated “afraid” in verse two actually means “to put in fear, terrify and frighten; to cause to run away fearful and afraid” (Hebrew Greek Key Word Study Bible–New Testament Lexical Aids).
Sounds to me like these guys were afraid of the wrong thing–better to fear God than man! We find this truth expressed so well in Acts:
Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:18-20)
Peter also said in the next chapter of Acts:
“We must obey God rather than men!” (Acts 5:29)
Proverbs tells us that we are not to be fearful of man:
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. (Proverbs 29:25)
God places His people in a position of testimony–giving us an opportunity to proclaim how He has been kind to us, the deeds He has done, and the compassion that He has shown us. We are not to be intimidated–the glory of the Lord is worth more than the approval of men! To tremble or be fearful of man will inevitably be a noose around our necks luring, ensnaring, and entangling us into sin. In pleasing man over God we are asking for sure trouble. We are to be faithfully following the way of Jesus, boldly teaching His truth in love through our actions and through our words.
In our verses for today we find Judas, one of the twelve, sadly selling his soul for mere silver. And yet, Jesus, knowing exactly who would betray Him, treated Judas no differently than his other disciples–even to the point that all of them questioned who Jesus was referring to when He told them one would betray Him: “There is a wideness in God’s mercy, like the wideness of the sea.” (Frederick William Faber)
After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.” His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. (John 13:21-22)
Take It to Heart
Nothing takes Jesus by surprise. Great is God’s mercy, love, and faithfulness through Jesus. Follow Him!